A constantly evolving game
A few months back, professional League of Legends player Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng posted a video to his Youtube channel titled “The Downsides of a Constantly Evolving Game” that went viral among the Esports community. Doublelift touched on the idea that as a competitive player, it is extremely difficult to put in enough time and practice to keep up with a game that is rapidly evolving. It is almost impossible to play every strategy at the highest level, especially with only a week or so to practice the new optimal strategies.
Competitive Magic players are experiencing this problem in Standard for the first time in a long while. For a long time, the meta has been “solved” in Standard, or has been changing very slowly in Modern and even Legacy. Players are feeling lost as they attempt to keep up with the week by week changes in the meta. Everyone is trying to find the next level, predicting what the most played deck of the weekend will be and how it will be configured.
As of now, it is somewhat easy to place what decks are considered tier one, but nobody can agree on the best configuration for any of them. This is what players had been wanting for years, and now they have it. For those of you that haven’t gotten on board with Standard yet, it’s incredible and you absolutely should. Standard feels like two games in one right now: picking and fine tuning your deck for the weekend, and then of course playing.
For those of you worried about the expenses associated with constantly adjusting or entirely ditching a Standard deck, a lot of the decks are also really cheap to acquire! Arena makes playing Standard an absolute treat and without too much effort you can find yourself a deck for no money at all. Standard is very hard right now but the games are incredibly fun and it feels like you can beat anything with your favorite archetype. Overall I think Wizards has finally produced a Standard format that we will not solve by the time the next set comes out. It looks like the current step is figuring out the best way to build and thus defeat Izzet Drakes, but who knows what level that will put people on for this weekend. I have honestly heard good arguments for every tier one deck being the best choice for the weekend.
Mike Sigrist recently wrote an article titled “Trusting the Process” that was posted to channelfireball.com where he talked about experiencing a lot of the problems I have talked about here. If Mike Sigrist is feeling lost in the whirlpool of changes, players like me and you shouldn’t get disheartened when we make a bad meta read, or have a bad weekend or two. I have had a couple of my own worst finishes these last two weekends with decks that I thought were good choices for the weekend, but ended up being poorly positioned against the field I faced. These losses have motivated me to try even harder for the coming weekend and I have found myself trying to find teammates to play games with almost every night of the week so that I can get back on top of the meta. It also doesn’t hurt that the games are great!
Good luck trying to decipher the meta this weekend and for those of you who haven’t… PLAY STANDARD!! I really can’t recommend it enough!